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Ford Fusion targets midsize market

01-11-2012 16:52 BJT

DETROIT, the United States, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. auto giant Ford seems to have pinned its future sales hopes on the debut of its latest Fusion model after winning the North American International Auto Show's EyesOn Design top prize earlier this week.

Ford hopes prospective customers will have the same reaction to the vehicle's new look.

A panel of judges composed of a variety of auto industry experts voted the 2013 Ford Fusion best designed in production vehicle, beating out fellow finalists the BMW 3 Series and Cadillac ATS models to take the yearly prize.

Unlike the BMW and Cadillac models, the Fusion is not a luxury car. Although the 2013 Fusion pricing has yet to be set, Ford leaders say it will be close to the current model's price tag, which starts around 20,200 U.S. dollars.

That the Fusion could target Cadillac and BMW's customers is highly doubtful, as despite its award-winning design, the Fusion is not of the same high performance caliber as luxury brands.

However, Ford executives hope that the Fusion's futuristic design featuring an elegant aerodynamic shape could finally give the brand an advantage over leading competitors Toyota and Honda in the midsize sedan market segment, where Ford has traditionally lagged behind.

"It's a beautiful car -- I think that's something that you see right away," Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford told reporters about the new Fusion's design concept.

"It's a very highly-styled car both internally and externally, and that's something that traditionally in the past you wouldn't have expected to see from this segment of the market," Ford continued, revealing how Ford aimed to win an advantage by combining style with pricing.

Ford is aiming to draw customers that have typically preferred the Japanese-produced Camry and Accord midsize sedans, each capturing 15 and sometimes 20 percent of the market segment in the early 2000s.

However, Japanese automakers have struggled this year with the effects of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which disrupted global supply chains and hurt sales, in addition to the general economic difficulties following the 2008 financial crisis.


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